By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

For the second time in six months, a Hays college campus has made history.

At Monday's board of trustees meeting in Hays, Sandy Gottschalk was named the new dean of the Hays campus of North Central Kansas Technical College. NCK Tech's main campus is in Beloit, where the college is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Gottschalk is the first female dean in the 40-year history of the Hays campus, and the announcement comes six months after Fort Hays State University announced the hiring of Mirta Martin as its first female president in school history.

Gottschalk, director of nursing at NCK Tech's Hays campus the past 16 years, has been serving as interim dean of the Hays campus as well since Don Benjamin resigned in May.

"I think it's going to be fun working with all the departments," said Gottschalk, who is celebrating her 25th anniversary at the college. "It's a really good group of people here. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

Eric Burks, NCK Tech president, said Gottschalk was a natural choice, one he actually tried to woo from the nursing department into the administrative building last spring.

"I tried to talk her into it when she first took over as interim, because I knew she would do a fantastic job as dean," Burks said. "She takes a lot of pride in her nursing program."

The college conducted a search the past few months but hadn't found the right fit.

"Part of what really convinced me to make the decision now," Burks said, "was because of how the staff has pulled together over the past five months. It's a great staff here, and part of that is because of Sandy's leadership."

Gottschalk is a Hays native and started teaching nursing classes at the college in 1990 before taking over as director of the department in 1998. A new director of nursing will be hired to fill that position.